Anoa'i was born in Samoa, but his family relocated to San Francisco, California in the United States of America when he was young. At the age of 17, Anoa'i enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
Upon leaving the Marine Corps, Anoa'i began training as a wrestler under family friends Rocky Johnson and Peter Maivia, later receiving supplementary training from Kurt Von Steiger. He debuted in 1971, wrestling his first match in Phoenix, Arizona. Anoa'i subsequently trained his brother Sika, and the siblings formed a tag team known as the Wild Samoans.
Throughout the 1970s, the Wild Samoans competed for the Canadian Stampede Wrestling promotion, where they received supplementary training from Stu Hart, and for numerous National Wrestling Alliance affiliates. In 1978, the Wild Samoans traveled to Japan and competed for the International Wrestling Alliance, winning the IWA Tag Team Championship.
World Wrestling Federation
In 1979, the Wild Samoans joined the World Wide Wrestling Federation, where they were partnered with managerLou Albano and renamed "Albano's Wildmen". The "wild" nature of the brothers was highlighted by their unorthodox behavior, which included communicating only in unintelligible grunts and consuming unprepared raw fish during interviews and on approach to the ring. While in the WWWF (renamed the World Wrestling Federation, or WWF, in 1979) the Wild Samoans won the WWWF World Tag Team Championship and challenged Bob Backlund for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship on several occasions. They left the promotion in 1980.
The Wild Samoans wrestled in Mid-South Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions before returning to the WWF in 1983 and regaining the WWF World Tag Team Championship. When Sika suffered an injury, the tag team was supplemented by Anoa'i's son Samu. The trio remained in the WWF until 1984. Anoa'i returned to the WWF for a third time in 1992 as the manager of The Headshrinkers, Samu and Anoai's nephew Fatu. Anoa'i remained with the WWF until 1994.
Upon leaving the WWF, he began training wrestlers at the Wild Samoan Training Facility along with his brother. On March 31, 2007, the Wild Samoans were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Samu and Sika's son, Matt. He was the wrestling trainer for Darren Aronofsky's 2008 film The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke.